12 Malaysian Herbs and Spices and Its Health Benefits
There are a lot of amazing things about Malaysia. This country has a very long history and place for some ethnicities like Malay, India, Arab and Chinese. As one of the English speaking nation in Asia, Malaysia is very fond of tourists. So, it is not a surprise if Malaysia is one of the countries with the highest tourist visit. It is not the only thing that is amazing about Malaysia, when it comes to culinary, the option is very wide due to the fusion of some distinctive ethnicities that are living together harmonically for over centuries which lies on the choice of herbs and spices. The list of Malaysian herbs and spices and its health benefits below may surprise you.
Garlic is very essential in Chinese food and Malaysia is very famous for its Chinese food since Chinese is one of the ethnicity you could find in Malaysia. The health benefits of eating fresh garlic is including great for immunity system, so chicken soup with extra garlic always the best remedy to treat fever with cold and flu. Garlic is also great in reducing the symptoms of high blood pressure, so garlic is good for cardiovascular health.
There are a lot of types of onion but in Malaysia, they are using red onions almost in every Malaysian cuisine. When it comes to the health benefits of onions the list will be endless but in general onion is great for heart because it could promote healthy blood flow, able to regulate blood pressure and super great for digestive system. Just be careful with the amount of onion you consume because the side effect of too much onion in your breakfast is bad breath. However, its side effect is just so insignificant compared to its amazing list of health benefits.
Polygonum is one of the leaves usually used in Malaysia’s cuisine. The flavor and the aroma of this leaf are very aromatic and similar to turmeric’s leaves. The locals prefer to call it as daun kesum or daun laksa. The health benefits of this herbal leaves are including good to improve appetite and its antibacterial agent is great to treat light fever and cold. Polygonum is the Asian version of mint leaves though the aroma is a bit stronger and the taste is not as minty but instead a bit spicy.
- Curry Leaves
If you are so fond of Indian cuisine, you will know that curry leaves are among the essential ingredients in Indian cuisine. Since Indian is one of the ethnicities that are contributing in rich culinary options, so curry leaves become one of the important herbs and spices among the Malaysian. The best thing about curry leaves is its aroma and the health benefits of curry leaves are well known to be home remedy to diarrhea and instant solution to anemia.
- Dried Chili
When it comes to Malay’s cuisine, dried chili is one of the ingredients used. Why they are not using fresh chili instead? Well, actually dried chili has its own distinctive aroma and taste that different from fresh chili. However, when it comes to nutrients, dried chili has all the health benefits of chili you know. Since it is rich of vitamin C benefits, dried chili is great immunity booster. That is why during recovery state is better to consume spicy foods though of course, there are some considerations especially those who are having sensitive stomach because chili could cause some stomach pain as well as diarrhea if consumed too much.
Ginger is commonly used in beverage due to its warming effect. The same applies to Malaysian cuisine, ginger is usually added to soup and combined with white pepper, the food is excellent to be consumed during recovery state because the benefits of ginger are including accelerating the recovery process by boosting immune system with antiseptic effect and packed with potent antioxidants. That is why ginger is excellent for cells regenerations are natural remedy to cancer.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves
One of the herbs that are commonly used in Malaysian cuisine is kaffir lime leaves. Yes, there are a lot of citrus leaves commonly used in cuisine but in Malaysian cuisine kaffir lime leaves always the first option especially for Malay and Indian cuisine. The aromatic smell of kaffir lime leaves give specific signature to the Malaysian cuisine and the health benefits of kaffir lime leaves are not only improving your appetite but also good to release stress. Furthermore about kaffir lime leaves are its unique feature, so you won’t mistaken it with other types of limes from citrus family because kaffir limes has two leaves bind together like feather.
Screwpine is another name of a specific leaf plant commonly found in Asia well known as pandan leaves in Malaysia. The fragrance is very aromatic while the green color leaves usually used as natural food coloring. The color pandan leaves produce is bright green which is very fascinating. That is why pandan leaves are commonly used in Malaysian’s traditional cake. In food, screwpine usually shred or knot before adding it to the food. When you are wondering about the health benefits of pandan leaves the list is including lowering blood pressure up to natural pain relief.
There are a lot of type rhizomes and galangal is among the essential ones especially in Malaysia. The look is similar to ginger because it comes from the same family. The health benefits of galangal are as effective anti-inflammatory which is good to treat arthritis. This herb is also beneficial to treat several stomach problems or stomach pain.
The botanical name of lemongrass is Cymbopogon citratus which has unique aroma similar to citrus. This herb is well known as natural aromatherapy and home fragrance. Due to the health benefits of lemongrass, this herb is widely used in Malaysia cuisine and also well known throughout Asia. Lemongrass is effective reducing the cholesterol level, regulating blood pressure and overall is good for cardiovascular health. Lemongrass is usually added to cuisine like soto or nasi lemak.
Malay loves fish. They will fry, boil and even make fish into soup. Tamarind is the secret recipe used to remove the bad odor of the fish. Furthermore, the health benefits of tamarind fruit are also a lot. Tamarind is rich of fiber and containing potent anti-inflammatory properties. Tamarind is also type of therapy used to treat several types of diabetes due to its ability to regulate blood sugar level by limiting the excessive absorption of carbohydrate.
Everyone knows turmeric and also familiar with the amazing list of health benefits of turmeric. Its distinctive yellow color is the reason why this food is widely used as natural food coloring. Turmeric is excellent source of anti-bacteria and anti-fungal properties. It could be used externally and internally. Turmeric is also used in cuisine to help patients in recovery stage improving their appetite to accelerate the recovery process.
Those are the top 12 Malaysian herbs and spices and its health benefits you should know. The unique thing is those 12 herbs and spices are also the result of harmonic fusion of some ethnicities in Malaysia, like the curry leaves are from India, coconut milk is one of the important ingredients in Malay’s cuisine, garlic and onion are essential for Chinese food.